What dreams may come

Screenshot anime Rebirth of Buddha

In the anime “The Rebirth of Buddha” by Happy Science, hospitals are places where the astral bodies of the deceased roam the corridors, desperately seeking help for their ailments because they don’t want to die, unaware that they have already passed away. But this is not the first movie where the dead are unaware of their death. Then again, in our dreams we are unaware of our sleep… Coincidence, or…?

In June this year, prolific writer Richard Matheson passed away at the age of 87. This is generally not something to celebrate, but in his case at least it means he got the chance to test his theories about the afterlife, in which he had taken a keen interest. While most known for his horror and science fiction novels, one of his best loved books was “What Dreams May Come”, in which the main character experienced three main realms of the afterlife: The Ghost Realm, Heaven, and Hell. Well, I guess two of these qualify as horror!

Matheson used realistic settings for his stories, and he researched the afterlife thoroughly before writing this novel. While the story is fictional, the setting mostly represents what the author believed about the afterlife, based on reading and thinking about the matter, mostly from oriental sources.

I am not really writing about Matheson or his book or the movie based on it, but I need to give a spoiler here because it illustrates a point that is otherwise difficult to make. Having seen the movie or read the book – preferably not right before bedtime – may help make this distinction that I briefly mentioned in my recent entry, between the “bodysoul” and the “spiritsoul”.

In Matheson’s story, the main character dies in a traffic accident. However, he does not realize that he is dead and that it is perfectly normal to hang around for a while after your passing. He suppresses the memories of his own death and burial and keeps trying to contact his family, especially his wife, with whom he was very close. Occasionally a vaguely seen person tries to contact him, but he ignores this and keeps haunting his home.

At some point, however, a new split occurs, and his soul parts with this astral body which he wore when he haunted his family. Suddenly he can think much more clearly and feel fully himself. He can now see the spirit that tried to contact him and recognizes it as someone important to him. Together they go to a Heaven, of sorts.

So if you remember that scene, you understand the concept of a person having several bodies (three in this case).

Ryuho Okawa, founder of the Japanese New Religion Happy Science, describes a similar situation, probably based on the same sources. According to Okawa, people in the 4th dimension wear astral bodies, but when they ascend to the 5th dimension, they discard these bodies and live as souls. Later, they may discard these as well and live as spirits in the even higher Heavens.


Let us talk a little about dreams. Not only Shakespeare but also Ryuho Okawa compares the afterlife to a sleep with dreams. Other sources claim that our dreams at night actually take place in the astral realm, and Okawa teaches that the Spirit World (or to use his favorite name for it, the Real World) is a world of the mind. So in that sense we certainly spend time in the world of the mind every night, but it is very rare indeed that two people share a dream and remember it. Often you dream about someone else but they have no memory of the dream at all. This may be just as well, but this leaves open the question of whether, if we meet others in the afterlife, do they also meet us? If not, it is kind of pointless, is it not?

Well, no one is saying that our dreams actually are our afterlife, just that they have certain things in common. Most notably, our dreams are made out of the content of our psyche at the time we dream, which is also the content that we are going to drag with us into the afterlife in the unfortunate case that we die before we wake. So if we carry a lot of fear or anger with us in our subconscious, then we may have a problem when we pass over and still carry this stuff with us.


Now let me talk about my dreams. I am the Viewpoint Character, after all! And my dreams are pretty unusual. I think I may have met two people who dream the way I do with any regularity, or even at all; but it may be just Drew, I am not sure now who the other person was.

You see, when you dream, you feel as if you wear a body (or even are a body, if that is how you usually think of yourself), and it is typically the body you have in your daily life. Associated with this body is your body-soul, the personality you have acquired in this life: Your name, your most common memories, your habits, your relationships to family, friends, job and home. Basically, you are you, even in your dream. Sometimes I am, too. But often I am not.

In my dreams, I can have a completely different body and the personality that goes with it. For the duration of the dream, I have other memories (although I later only remember those that I recalled during the dream), another home, a family, friends, another job or school. It is a completely different life. And it is indeed complete, for the duration of the dream. I don’t find these circumstances strange or unfamiliar; they are part of the web of life for that person I am there. Only when I wake up do I realize that I don’t know any of these people, including the person that was me in the dream.

In some dreams, not often but it has happened several times, I actually move from one person to another in the dream. It is usually only two or three people, but I once moved in rapid succession through half a dozen different people of both sexes, experiencing their different view of the same situation. Like I was some kind of spirit possessing people. Yeah, that sounds creepy to me as well. They did not seem to mind or notice though. Now that I think about it, I believe this tends to happen only when people are agitated. This may deserve further study (although I am not sure how I would do that).

So in my dreams, I seem to possess many different “astral bodies”, but I have not laid off these bodies and their personalities and become my real self, if there is such a person. It seems to me that the person inside or underneath my body-soul is simply an observer. When I meditate, I can observe my mind. My mind is not me. There is another me inside “me”, the Witness which watches the outer world and the inner world both, watches silently and without really engaging. When I engage, I fall back into the mind, and become part of the personality, the surface consciousness, the bodysoul. I cannot really imagine existing as a spiritsoul, without even an astral body. This may be a good thing, because it is not obvious that I would ever return if that happened, even if it happened in a dream.

And I think I still have a lot to learn from the “dream” that is my life in this world, in this body, in this time.


A dream

This morning, somewhere around half past six, I had a dream that made an emotional impact on me.

In my dream, I was my character from City of Heroes, the violet Color of Reverence. However, the dream took place in Daggerfall, the mythical magic-filled land of my first long-time game environment. The inhabitants of the village or small town had become outspoken in their criticism of the Establishment, and the government had sent the guards – the medieval police with extreme prejudice – to teach them a lesson. I caught a couple of them as they were about to kill a defenseless woman and two children (I am somewhat uncertain whether this was my family in the dream or a neighbor). Their activities came to a stop, let us say.

It really bothered me, in my dream, that the government had gone to this length to protect the economic elite of Daggerfall. I woke up with a feeling that this was somehow important, but the feeling itself is gone now.

Dreams and life

The last several days something has happened to my dreams. I half remember them, especially  during the weekend when I don’t have to hurry in the morning. And they are… repetitive. I mean, I dream a sequence, and then I dream it again, but with some variation. And then I dream it again, with yet another variation. If I were to sum the dream up briefly, all the replays would be the same, but they are not. They are different in detail. I don’t think they go on like that all night. These are short sequences, so all the replays take place within one dream.

In the story I am still writing, the main character spends every night in a wide awake dream. The dreamworld he returns to is persistent: His day there is the night of his birth world, and the other way around. He goes to bed in one and wakes up in the other. But the Dreamworld quickly becomes the one he feels at home in: As he says, he was born into his first world by chance (that is what he thinks), but coming to the Dreamworld was a result of his own choices and efforts.

I don’t think this will happen to me, and I also don’t think I was thrown into this world by chance. I just mention it because I write about dreams and then a change seems to be happening to my own dreams. It is not for nothing that we often use the word “dream” in a less literal meaning. Dreams extend into our waking life, and our waking life into our dreams – even when the two are very different, as they usually are for me. So also now: All three sequences this morning was about airplanes, which I haven’t ridden for decades.

I did think back to one of my rare plane rides some days ago, however: I remembered how beautiful the clouds looked from above, much more so than from below.  How do you explain that, dear orthodox Darwinist? Did we evolve from particularly high-flying birds, or on very high mountain tops? Or is it a social construct? Was I raised by angels, subtly taught the beauty of the world from on high? Well, perhaps that is not so far off…


Dream of being people

I dreamed that I was a small group of people waiting to board a train. Somewhere around seven people, I think. But I was not all of them at once – there are still limits, even in my dreams! My consciousness moved from one of them to the next, seeing the situation through their eyes, through their minds. Each of them had different things on their mind, different feelings, different priorities.

It is rare that I dream like this (I think – I don’t remember nearly all my dreams). I have had similar dreams in the past, even since my youth: Dreams in which I move from one of the characters into another, like a spirit possessing one person and then another.  I have even wondered, many years ago, if this was what I would become when I died – a spirit that would flitter around possessing living people. I sincerely hope not!

Anyway, I have no feeling of evil in these dreams. It is simply a way of changing viewpoints, something many authors do regularly in books without being demons.

But it does kind of bring home the point that, no, I am not a body. There are people, even among my online friends, who seem to sincerely believe they are bodies. That’s pretty weird. At the very least you should think you are the software that runs on the hardware of the brain. Preferably the coder who writes the software that runs on your brain. You could have any of a lot different bodies and still been you. Sure, the body adds flavor to your personality, but it does not decide who you are going to be ten or twenty years from now. YOU decide that. That is a scary thought, isn’t it?

But I suppose if you have never been anyone else, even in your dreams, it may be easy to never realize the difference between you and your body. Oh well, you’ll find out when you look down on it someday, I guess.

Dream – avatar of justice

This morning, I had a dream. It was mostly hellish, but it took an unexpected turn at the end.

The dream took place in a small town, where things took a turn for the worse. Bad things started to happen. People died. Eventually it became clear that a criminal syndicate was killing people off. One of their own tried to betray them and stop them, but was killed. However, he had managed to alert me.

Toward the end, death machines were running in the streets, guns on wheels, shooting everyone who had not fled. I am not sure whether they were robots or remote controlled, but they drove through the streets killing people.

The leader of the criminal syndicate was a Lex Luthor type. Perhaps it was just his personality. The place did not otherwise give off a DC Comics feel. The criminals were all gathered in a building while their death machines roamed the streets. That’s where I came and confronted them in their lair. They wanted to kill me too, of course, but they were not in my league. I pronounced my sentence on them: I would swap the dead and the living. They would die, those they had killed would be resurrected.

OK, I assure you that this is not the order of magnitude I usually operate on, even in my dreams. My only excuse for the resurrection part is that I dreamed this on Easter Day morning. Even in my dreams, I don’t usually aspire to resurrecting other people, certainly not hundreds of them.

There is some variation in how much magic I can use in my dream, but it normally lies within a certain boundary. If I use too much, I wake up extremely tired, even more sleepy than when I went to bed. And if I do something too spectacular in one go, I wake up gasping for breath and my heart hammering in my chest. Like the time I blew up a hill, or the time I tried to teleport someone backward in time. Usually I can teleport myself 2-3 times in one dream before I am exhausted. This time, while I did not actually get around to resurrecting people, I teleported the whole building, a piece of the street and a neighboring building to Antarctica. That’s normally out of my league. Evidently my dreams have been upgraded or something.

(It bears mention that I was not Magnus Itland in this dream. As is often or even usually the case, I had a completely different body, life history, name and memories, but the same spirit.)

So anyway, there was some disturbance and the Luthor type, the boss, killed several of the others with an improvised grand cudgel type of weapon, before they put him down.  I woke up so I did not see them all die, nor did I see the townies resurrected.


I have seen people as different as Ryuho Okawa and Philip Sherrard (Orthodox Christian philosopher) say that our dreams are a hint of our afterlife. Sherrard says that after our physical body dies, we will continue to inhabit the (inner) world we inhabited while we lived. Okawa says that upon death, dreams and waking life will be switched around, so that our dreams will seem to be our real world, and the world will seem like a dream.  People who have happy dreams about being together with friends are likely to have a happy afterlife being together with friends, because they have a life-content of love. People who dream about hate and fear and enemies are likely to have a hellish afterlife, because this is the content of their soul.

I reserve judgment on this theory.  Somehow I find it hard to believe that I will be a godlike avatar of justice in my afterlife…

Basement dream

I woke up an hour early from a lifelike dream. Well, not like my real life, but it seemed real while it lasted.

In my dream, I was at some gathering at the old school house. Each of us was given a piece of paper with a riddle on it. Supposedly it was random who got which. I quickly solved my riddle, which was four liters (1 gallon) of milk in a large container. Then we went down in the dark basement to find whatever it was. I thought it was a kind of test of courage. I was confident, for I knew the cellar of my old school. Or so I thought. And it wasn’t all that dark.

But in the fridges down there I only found 3 liters of milk, and some of it so old that I feared it was spoiled. Others had not had complete success either: I saw a frying pan which someone was cooking pasta in. The water was cooked away and the pasta would be burnt, if not catching fire altogether. I put the pan in water, as there was no one to be seen.

At this time I was quite upset and angry at the idiots who had arranged the whole thing, made it impossible to complete, and risked the house catching fire on top of it all. I opened a window and slipped out, intending to go home without being seen or seeing anyone.

But outside, I saw that it was still not that late, and I decided instead to go to the shop and buy the milk, even though I doubted the rest of the recipe would come together.  As I crossed the field, I saw there were people, and a large fridge and a counter out in the grassy field. On the counter was a suitable large container, and inside the fridge were four liters of fresh milk. The other people I saw had also found their ingredients. Everything was there, you just had to get out of the dark basement. My hellish mood changed accordingly.

I guess other people’s dreams are not obvious, so let me add that this strikes me as a parable on my own life.  For a long time, I expected to find things to be trivially easy, and when they were not (and other people were idiots on top of it all) I got into a hellish mindset. When I broke free, and yet decided to fulfill my mission even if it would require a sacrifice, I found that everything I needed was in fact made ready for me, just not in the closed rooms where I had expected.

Short dream

I dreamed that I was in a house. The foundation was in bad repair, cracked and with pieces falling out at the lightest touch. I feared that the whole thing would collapse soon.  But in the living room there was some amazing hi-tech furniture that should not have been invented yet, or at least not outside NASA.

I think the moral of the dream is glaringly obvious. I just have no idea whether it is about me or us all.


I woke up at an unusual time this morning, because I could not breathe normally through the goo in my bronchi. But this made it possible for me to capture the last dream sequence. Today’s hidden theme seems to be religion.

One part, mercifully short, was rather disturbing. It consisted of me walking around alone, screaming: KILL! KILL! KILL! KILL! over and over, clenching my fists and contorting my muscles in fury.  This is, unfortunately, something I recognize from moments of extreme frustration in my past. It is one of those things I really want to see gone from my life before I graduate to the (more) Real World. The dream made it clear that this kind of feeling is something I still can feel. I had almost forgotten that.

The dream really drove home the point that I had not fully repented this horror and the mindset that leads to it. And so, after I got up and took my bronchidilation medicine, I sat down and recalled the cases I could remember of this behavior, shining the white light of Christ on it, that it may be forgiven and transformed, and that in the future I shall not accumulate anger in my heart till it blooms like that, but react to it early. Whenever anger arises, it is a sign that the heart is too proud, having desires and expectations that were not realistic.  Well, repentance is optional of course. I mean, a non-religious person would not do that. Some might even enjoy it.  There is a horrible strength in such rage. My Viking ancestors probably made the most of it.  I have from childhood had some of that temper, unlike my mother and my saintly brother.

In the other dream I aimlessly waited at a bus stop, not knowing when the next bus to Mandal would come.  (It would not – turns out it was a place which has no direct buses to Mandal.) A young girl – barely teenager – kept chatting to me. I found it weird and pretended to ignore her. She was talking about all kinds of random superficial things, like neurotypicals do when they try to be friendly.  But I thought it was just weird and did not want to be seen being friendly with a severely underage kid I did not know. People here in Norway will think you are a child molester if you do that, unfortunately.  It wasn’t like that when I grew up, I think it is one of the things we have imported with American culture. Or perhaps it is Continental, I am not sure.

When I walked away, she shouted after me something like “Jesus won’t like you behaving like that!”, which may well be true. But the impression I got was that she was chatting to random strangers because she thought Jesus wanted people to do that. In my dream, I held the opposite impression, remembering Jesus’ teaching that “a human shall make account for every useless word on Judgment Day”.

Waking up, I am not sure that trying to be friendly is actually useless! Jesus also taught us that friends is something we can actually get with us to the next world and should be bought when possible. I will probably still avoid talking to kids and very young teens alone though…

In my dream, I now wandered lost in the suburbs for a while. I ended up inside a house and told the couple there that I only needed to find the exit. The wife said this happened all too often recently.  As I was leaving, my cell phone rang (still in the dream). It was an old friend from my time with The Christian Church (the one I linked to yesterday). He wanted urgent answer to some technical question about bonds. At first, being totally unprepared, I was about to reject his question, saying that I did not know what he was talking about. But then, by thinking logically, I saw that the answer was quite clear, so I gave it to him.

Then I woke up because I could not breathe well, so I went downstairs to use my inhalator and to cough up ick. And here I am now.

Weird dreams

This morning was weird dream season again.

First, we had a young woman who could transform into a frog. This turned out to be less useful for spying than we thought, since a) frogs move pretty slowly, b) dogs among other creatures like to attack frogs, causing her to panic and turn back to human, and c) her clothes did not change with her. We decided that a porcupine would be better for the task.

Next dream, I was young and going out with a Japanese girl. On the plus side, she spoke English about as well as I do (haltingly and with some mispronunciations, but perfectly understandable). On the minus side, whenever she did something unfamiliar, I had no idea whether it was a Japanese thing or some quirk of her own. The other young people thought she was weird too.

In the next part, I had come into discussion with a transfer student about something in Bergen. (Everyone in all of these dreams were people I don’t know in real life, including quite possibly me.) At this point my Japanese girlfriend and I both had magic. Her magic was weaker but she had good control, so she made a teleportation membrane between there and Bergen. By passing through the dark blue membrane you would fade out here and fade in there. I had more raw power but not so good control, and there might be a limit to how many times I could do magic, or it might be dangerous to me, I am not sure, but she did not want me to do it. In the end I did anyway, and opened a giant portal between here and there, where the two places were basically bordering on each other so you could look into it and step from one place to another like you walk across a line on the ground. It was so big you could move a platoon through it and was surrounded by a brilliant white light. When we stepped through, we saw that someone had set fire to the grass.

At that point I woke up, probably because I had been worried about going to bed while my wood stove was still burning so hot, but since I kept falling asleep in my living room chair I did it anyway.

I don’t really see these dreams having any deep message for my life, except to be grateful that I don’t date Japanese girls or work with people who turn into frogs.

More dreams

I dreamed a lot this morning, even though I did not sleep that long, and woke up tired. As a compensation I am going to grab the dreams, or what is still left of them.

In the first dream, we were at a work conference, like I was in real life two weeks ago now. But in my dream, staying overnight was optional. In the end I stayed there (bus connections to Møll are terrible). I slept in the room of a female coworker, either that or we just pretended that I did – I don’t remember that part. My boss was scandalized, thinking that we must have had sex. I found that amusing, and so presumably did my female friend, since she went along with the joke.

Much of the second dream is lost. I mostly remember dreaming that one of my brothers was recently divorced, and we talked about this in some detail. He seemed resigned to it already. I hope and pray that it be just a dream. In this age, divorce is so common as to be almost a social custom, and there is little a man can do to prevent it. Now that the great religions of the world have been perverted into lawlessness, there is nothing holding people back from “trading up” spouses much like you get a new house. It is certainly common here in Scandinavia, and it is usually the woman who does it, just like in my dream. Another reason why this is a good age to be single, for those who can.

On two vaguely related notes, the last dream took place in an alternate world where demon-humans lived as a minority among other humans. In the night they were strong and dangerous, and the real humans stayed indoors behind magical protections. But in daylight, the demons were weak and were ill-treated whenever they showed their face. They looked like very ugly humans, deformed and with discolored skin. They did threaten us, however: They were looking forward to a time soon to come, where “that which held back” would be removed, the Dark One would be free, and they would all become as strong as their king in Jerusalem. Then our feeble protections would not keep them from feeding on us at will.

To forestall the end of the human world, some of my friends were active in conservative political activism, for lack of a better word. It was taken for granted – at least by the conservatives – that giving power to liberals was to hasten the rule of the demons. (I am sure many conservatives agree to this even in real life!) I would on occasion help my good friend at the office of the conservatives. The dream ended during just such an occasion. I was affixing labels to envelopes. A teenage girl was hovering around me, trying desperately to be of help even though I did not need it. When someone commented on it, she became rather red. The glue on the labels was of bad quality and they would not stay on. I mentioned I should go home and get my glue stick (these things really existed in the age before electronic communication. In real life I found a dried husk of a glue stick in my office supplies some weeks ago.) My friend told me that the economy of the organization was so bad, they could not afford to pay me for the time it took for me to drive home and fetch it. I switched to English (in order for fewer people to hear it) and told him that I had never taken a cent for my work there – it was all volunteering on my behalf and always would be. This amazed those who understood what I saw.  Conservatives doing something for free seems to have been more alien in their world than in mine.  I hope.

And with that, I woke up.  Now, work.